Parker Family Health Clinic/Volunteers in Health, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006
Enhancing community health through volunteer health professionals
After 35 years in medical practice, Dr. Eugene Cheslock was considering retiring in the late 1990s. Instead he went face to face with a problem he could no longer ignore – the increasing number of medically uninsured and the resulting strain on the health care system. In his own community in Red Bank, New Jersey, the problem was particularly glaring: 95 percent of those in the rapidly growing local Latino community had no health insurance; 30 percent of African Americans in town were in the same boat. In July 2000, Cheslock helped open The Parker Family Health Center in a converted trailer. The free medical clinic provides comprehensive coverage for the working poor. Volunteer professionals provide pediatric care, including well checks and immunizations, gynecology services, family practice/internal medicine, ophthalmology, children’s dentistry, diabetes and hypertension management, social service referrals, and assistance with insurance applications. The center has recorded more than 30,000 patient visits. Doctors volunteer 3,000 hours annually at the clinic, while nurses donate another 2,000 hours.